Instructions for Writing Quality Abstracts

Titles and Affiliations

Titles should be concise, with a clear statement of the variables (independent and dependent), species, housing/condition (corral-living, zoo living, free-ranging, etc.), and for field studies, location of the study. The design should be clear from the wording of the title; for nonexperimental research, avoid words that imply causation.

The full mailing address of the first author should be given; provide institutional affiliations for co-authors only if different from that of the first author.

Body of the Abstract (225 Word Limit)

Below are recommendations for what should be included in an abstract. Remember that not all of these recommended elements apply to all types of studies (and abstracts). Please include all relevant and appropriate components.

  • The first 1-2 sentences of the abstract form should indicate the theoretical rationale or practical purpose for the work.
  • The common and scientific name for the species studied should appear in the title or body of the abstract, and the scientific name should be italicized or underlined.
  • The hypotheses being tested, whether phrased as predictions, research questions, or research problems, should be stated clearly; these can be incorporated into the stated purpose.
  • Include in Methods section:

    1. basic design of the study
    2. sample sizes
    3. data collection and/or sampling techniques
    4. size of the data set (number of hours of observation, duration of study, number of observations, number of samples, etc.)
  • Include in Results section:

    1. explicit statements of results relevant to the stated hypotheses and purpose, including some indication of the statistical strategy used
    2. level of significance (alpha level)
    3. direction of effect or relationship
    4. size of the data set (number of hours of observation, duration of study, number of observations, number of samples, etc.)
  • End abstracts with conclusions or implications of the results, linking the interpretations with the purpose, whether theoretical or applied. Do not state that "Results will be discussed."
  • Acknowledgement of funding sources may be included if so desired and if space allows.

Abstracts will be published and may be cited, so prepare a complete summary of your work that can be understood without any supporting or additional information. Please (1) check spelling and grammar carefully, (2) use metric units of measurement, and (3) define all acronyms and nonstandard abbreviations.

Two complete abstracts are reprinted as examples. All have been reproduced with permission of the author(s). While these abstracts might not contain all the recommended elements mentioned above, most elements are included.

Note of Acknowledgment: The 1994-1996 and 1996-1998 ASP Program Committees developed the instructions provided on this page.